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6 Things to Avoid Wasting Money on in Your New Home

Posted by Matthew T. Smoot on April 27, 2016 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)

6 Things to Avoid Wasting Money on in Your New Home

OK, we've said it time and again, but it bears repeating: Buying a home is a very big expense-and once you've kicked off all that spending, it's easy to find yourself caught up in rampant lifestyle inflation. After all, you've got an enormous, shiny new house just waiting to be filled with all sorts of nice stuff, right?
Well, take some quick advice: Don't keep spending.

Homeownership comes with its fair share of unique costs: property taxes and urgent repairs and energy bills, oh my. There's no need to add to their cost by shelling out for unnecessary expenses. Here are six major cash outlays that buyers can avoid.
 

Too much house

This one requires some thought before you actually nail the deal: How much house do you really need? Just because you're pre-approved for a hefty purchase price doesn't mean you should go as big as you can.
"The house that you can afford with the money you're lent can make the budget go out of whack," says Andrew Gipner, a financial adviser at Longview Financial Advisors in Huntsville, AL.
Not sure where to trim? Consider having less closet space, buying fewer bedrooms, or-especially-eliminating a formal dining room.
You don't use the dining room nearly as often as you think.
 

Fixing up your outdoor space ASAP

Once you close on your home and move in, you might be itching to host your first late-season barbecue. Or maybe you've been dreaming about a koi pond. But hold on: Updating your outdoor space shouldn't be your first priority, especially if you're tight on cash. Unlike couches and beds, which are essential to a functioning house, landscaping and decor can be put on pause.
That goes double if you're building new: According to Hans-Daniels, building your backyard at the same time as your home can cost "a lot more than if you did it after the fact."
So exercise some caution before committing: Try pricing out your plans with a landscape contractor, and consider rolling them out in phases.
 

Old, outdated insurance

Still using the same company that offered you renters insurance seven years ago? It might be time for a change. Shop around.
"You may stay with the same company, but you may find something that's a little better price for the same thing," Gipner says. "Sometimes, people may not want to shop around or may be married to a particular company."
Just because the same company had a good deal on auto or renters insurance doesn't mean it's the best fit to protect your home. Go through all your options with a fine-toothed comb, looking for a deal that won't crush you financially but also leaves your house and its belongings secure.
After all, now it's not just your stuff-it's your roof, yard, and foundation you have to protect, too.
 

Space-filling stuff

If you're moving from an apartment, chances are good you're astounded by how much space you have. There's another bedroom and a dining room and ... yet another bedroom!
Don't feel like you have to fill it all at once. Give yourself-and your home-time for personality to emerge.
"A lot of people will go out and say, 'Oh my gosh, I've got to fill this space and buy stuff,'" Gipner says. "I'm not against possessions, but the way some people do it can be seriously detrimental to their finances."
Instead of immediately stuffing the TV room with a generic, new couch and coffee table, wait it out. See what you really need and what you really like. In the meantime, stick the money you save into a renovation fund.
 

Extended warranties

Many homes don't come with appliances installed, so first-time homeowners might find themselves making large purchases (like a dishwasher or refrigerator).
Here's a tip: You don't need the extended warranty.
"I'm against them," Gipner says. "What are the chances everything you own is going to break or not work anymore?"
Yes, something might break within the relatively slim service window-but the money you'll spend fixing one thing will be far less than the extended warranties on all the things. Your average warranty costs about $123 for major appliances, according to Consumer Reports, and a single repair costs not much more (and might not even be covered). Just risk it-you'll come out ahead in the long run.
 

Yard maintenance

Having your own yard is definitely exciting, and while it's important to keep it healthy and watered, you don't need to go overboard. Resist the pressure to hire additional help for your yard-even if you've locked into an HOA that covers it.
"You can still be part of an HOA and cut your own grass," Gipner says. "You don't have to pay someone an exorbitant amount of money to come out and cut your grass."
Don't be tempted by the sales pitches you'll inevitably receive after your purchase goes through. A gorgeous lawn is achievable-and it can be done all on your own.

For more great real estate tips, visit me on the Web at www.SoldwithSmoot.com
 
Matthew T. Smoot-Your "Whatever it Takes" REALTOR®
When You List with Smoot, You Sell with Smoot
With over 9 years in the business I offer my clients the most comprehensive representation in Maryland.  Not only am I a REALTOR, but I also hold a Broker's license, which is the highest and most specialized license a REALTOR can hold.  Customer Service is my Priority, Selling Houses is My Goal!  Contact me for any and all of your Real Estate Needs.  443-504-8930


How to Shave 4 Years off Your Mortgage

Posted by Matthew T. Smoot on February 26, 2016 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

How to Shave 4 Years off Your Mortgage

As we enter into the peak of the home buying season, it is now a good idea to think about ways to reduce the term of your mortgage.   

According to most lending professionals, the best way to do this is by switching from traditional monthly mortgage payments to either weekly or bi-weekly payments.

Why you ask?  Because its the least painful and simplest way to shave approximately 4 to 4.5 years off the life of a traditional 30 year fixed rate mortgage.   

 

Here is how you do it:

First contact your mortgage lender to set up automatic withdrawals from your bank account for your mortgage payments.  While you could theoretically achieve the same thing by mailing in your payments, the vast majority of people won't have the discipline to stick to this alternate payment schedule if it's not set up as an automatic withdrawal.

Next, ask your lender to establish a payment every two weeks.   Take your monthly mortgage payment and divide it by two to come up with your payment amount.    For example, if your mortgage payment is $1,000 a month, your payment should be $500 every two weeks.   You could also establish weekly payments instead, which would be $250 a week instead of a $1,000 monthly payment.

This simple change in your payment schedule will shave approximately 4 to 4.5 years off of a traditional thirty-year fixed rate mortgage.   Check with your mortgage lender for an exact calculation of the reduction in years based on your individual circumstances.

Sounds painless and too good to be true, doesn't it, but here is how it works into savings.   If you make payments every two weeks, you're making 26 payments a year.   Since each payment is 1/2 of your normal monthly payment, take the 26 payments and divide by 2 to arrive at the monthly payments you are making each year.   26 divided by 2 results in 13 monthly payments that you've made each year instead of the 12 monthly payments that you would make under a traditional payment schedule.   The same mathematical result occurs if you establish a weekly payment schedule at ¼ the amount of your normal monthly mortgage payment.

So, you end up paying an extra monthly payment on your mortgage each year, which has a profound impact on the compounding effect of the interest on your mortgage.   Most homeowners would be hard pressed to come up with an additional mortgage payment at the end of the year, so this is a great way to accomplish some "forced savings" in a manner that most people don't even feel.   In fact, for a $200,000 mortgage, homeowners will most likely save somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000 over the life of the loan, based on today's interest rates.  

Check with your lender for an exact calculation of savings based on the specifics of your loan.

And this is not just for new homebuyers.  If you're trying to refinance, make sure to consider this when you decide to take out your new mortgage.

You can also start this bi-weekly or weekly payment schedule at any point in time - not just at the beginning of your mortgage.   You'll just save fewer years off of your mortgage the longer you wait to do so.   So if you are thinking about doing it, it's best to start right away.

Also, check with your lender to make sure that they are not going to charge you an additional fee for these more frequent, automatic payments.   Most lenders will not charge you a fee since automatic deductions from your bank account increase their likelihood of getting paid on time.   But some lenders may try to slip in a junk fee for doing so.   If they do that, I would recommend that you push back and ask them to waive the fee since many lenders will do this for free.

Finally, consider this scenario - if you are young and just starting a family, you might have a child in college during those last four years of your mortgage.  The absence of your mortgage payments might be the solution for paying the tuition bills during those four years of college!

If you need to speak with a loan office for a purchase or refinance, do not hesitate to contact me.


Matthew T. Smoot-Your "Whatever it Takes" REALTOR®
When You List with Smoot, You Sell with Smoot

With over 10 years in the business I offer my clients the most comprehensive representation in Maryland.  Not only am I a REALTOR, but I also hold a Broker's license, which is the highest and most specialized license a REALTOR can hold.  Customer Service is my Priority, Selling Houses is My Goal!  Contact me for any and all of your Real Estate Needs.  443-504-8930


Top Reasons to Buy NOW Instead of Renting or Waiting Until Next Year

Posted by Matthew T. Smoot on February 10, 2016 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Top Reasons to Buy NOW Instead of Renting or Waiting Until Next Year

 

Based on prices, mortgage rates and soaring rents, there may have never been a better time in real estate history to purchase a home than right now. Here are five major reasons purchasers should consider buying.

1. Competition is about to Increase

Every spring a surge of prospective purchasers enter the housing market. Like you, they will want the best home available in the best location at the best price. They will be competing with you for the ‘steals’ in the market. Don’t miss the opportunity to get that ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ buy available today that no longer be available as the market heats up..

2. Price Increases Are on the Horizon

Nationally, home prices are projected to appreciate by 4.5% in 2014 and by over 19% from now until 2018. First home buyers will probably pay more both in price and interest rate if they wait until the spring. Even if you are a move-up buyer, it will wind-up costing you more in net dollars as the home you will buy will appreciate at approximately the same rate as the house you are in now.

3. Owning a Home Helps Create Family Wealth

Whether you rent or you own the home you are living in, you are paying a mortgage. Either you are paying your mortgage or your landlord’s. The Federal Reserve, in a recent study, revealed that the net worth of the average homeowner is 30 times greater than that of a renter.

4. Interest Rates Are Projected to Rise

The Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of Realtors, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have all projected that the 30-year mortgage interest rate will be over 5% by the spring of 2015. That is an increase of almost 3/4 of a point over current rates.

5. Buy Low, Sell High

Most would all agree that, when investing, we want to buy at the lowest price possible and hope to sell at the highest price. Housing can create family wealth as long as we follow this simple principle. Today, real estate is selling ‘low’ compared to where it will be next year. It’s time to buy.

Start Searching For Your Home Today

Matthew T. Smoot-Your "Whatever it Takes" REALTOR®
When You List with Smoot, You Sell with Smoot

With over 10 years in the business I offer my clients the most comprehensive representation in Maryland.  Not only am I a REALTOR, but I also hold a Broker's license, which is the highest and most specialized license a REALTOR can hold.  Customer Service is my Priority, Selling Houses is My Goal!  Contact me for any and all of your Real Estate Needs.  443-504-8930


Thinking of Selling? Why Now May Be The Time

Posted by David Kaufmann on January 29, 2016 at 8:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Thinking of Selling? Why Now May Be The Time

Thinking of Selling? Why Now May Be The Time | Keeping Current Matters

It is common knowledge that a large number of homes sell during the spring-buying season. For that reason, many homeowners hold off on putting their home on the market until then. The question is whether or not that will be a good strategy this year.

The other listings that do come out in the spring will represent increased competition to any seller. Do a greater number of homes actually come to the market in the spring, as compared to the rest of the year? The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently revealed which months most people listed their home in for 2015. Here is a graphic showing the results:

2015 Popular Selling Months | Keeping Current Matters

The three months in the second quarter of the year (represented in red) are consistently the most popular months for sellers to list their homes on the market. Last year, the number of homes available for sale in January was 1,860,000.

That number spiked to 2,280,000 by May!

What does this mean to you?

With the national job situation improving, and mortgage interest rates projected to rise later in the year, buyers are not waiting until the spring. They are out looking for a home right now. If you are looking to sell this year, waiting until the spring to list your home means you will have the greatest competition for a buyer.

Bottom Line

It may make sense to beat the rush of housing inventory that will enter the market in the spring and list your home today.

David Kaufmann – Realtor ® / GRI - Market got you lost? Take the next EXiT!

Specializing in commercial, high-end waterfront, as well as more modest, residential dwellings in Annapolis, Stevensville, Queenstownand the surrounding areas.

www.DavidKaufmannEXITRealty.com- 443-223-3026 cell, 410-304-2115 office,

410-304-2031 fax;DavidKaufmannEXITRealty@gmail.comemail


$10,000 Available for Down Payment & Closing Costs

Posted by Matthew T. Smoot on January 29, 2016 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

$10,000 Available for Down Payment & Closing Costs

The "You've Earned" It program is offered through the Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) and is available to buyers who have at least $25,000 in student loan debt and are purchasing a home in one of Maryland's Sustainable Communities. Most of Baltimore City is a Sustainable Community as well as sections of Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties. You may check to see if a property is in a Sustainable Community by using the mapper.

Buyers that are eligible for the "You've Earned It" program will receive an interest rate that is .25% lower than the standard Maryland Mortgage Program's rate. They can also receive an additional $5,000 in down payment/closing cost assistance for a total of up to $10,000 in down payment/closing cost assistance.

Buyer's must meet the same eligibility requirements as the Maryland Mortgage Program which requires them to be under the income limits, and to complete homebuyer education.

Here is an information flyer for you to distribute.

If you have questions or would like more information please call or email me today.

Matthew T. Smoot-Your "Whatever it Takes" REALTOR®
When You List with Smoot, You Sell with Smoot
With over 10 years in the business I offer my clients the most comprehensive representation in Maryland.  Not only am I a REALTOR, but I also hold a Broker's license, which is the highest and most specialized license a REALTOR can hold.  Customer Service is my Priority, Selling Houses is My Goal!  Contact me for any and all of your Real Estate Needs.  443-504-8930


What to do AFTER the storm has passed:

Posted by David Kaufmann on January 23, 2016 at 10:30 PM Comments comments (0)

What to do AFTER the storm has passed:

From the official website of the Department of Homeland Security 01/23/2016

Hello Maryland, now that “Jonas” #Blizzardof2016 has passed, here are a few tips on what to do next.

After Winter Storms And Extreme Cold

  • If your home loses power or heat for more than a few hours or if you do not have adequate supplies to stay warm in your home overnight, you may want to go to a designated public shelter if you can get there safely. TextSHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (e.g., SHELTER20472)
  • Bring any personal items that you would need to spend the night (such as toiletries, medicines). Take precautions when traveling to the shelter. Dress warmly in layers, wear boots, mittens, and a hat.
  • Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.


Learn From Every Storm

Restock your emergency supplies to be ready in case another storm hits.

  • Assess how well your supplies and family plan worked. What could you have done better?
  • Take a few minutes to improve your family plan and supplies before the next winter storm hits.
  • Talk to your neighbors and colleagues about their experiences and share tips with each other.

David Kaufmann – Realtor ® / GRI - Market got you lost? Take the next EXIT!

Specializing in commercial, high-end waterfront, as well as more modest, residential dwellings in Annapolis, Stevensville, Queenstown and the surrounding areas.

www.DavidKaufmannEXITRealty.com - 443-223-3026 cell, 410-304-2115 office,

410-304-2031 fax; DavidKaufmannEXITRealty@gmail.com email

5 Housing Market Predictions for 2016

Posted by Matthew T. Smoot on January 22, 2016 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)
 
It's that time of year again, when the Home Buying Institute rounds up a collection of insightful - and sometimes controversial - predictions for the U.S. residential real estate market. We begin with home prices and we end with Millennials, with a sprinkling of mortgage rates and employment trends in between.
 
Here are five key predictions for the U.S. housing market in 2016:
 
1. Home prices will rise more slowly in most U.S. cities.
 
Over the last couple of years have, we've seen home prices rise rapidly in many parts of the country. This was often the result of a supply and demand imbalance. In many large metro areas, there were plenty of home buyers in the market but not enough homes to meet demand. Prices tend to rise rapidly under such circumstances.
Many housing market forecasts for 2016 agree that prices will probably rise more slowly than they did in 2015, as more homes come onto the market.
In July, the financial data company CoreLogic issued a forecast for the U.S. real estate market. At that time, the company was predicting a 4.7% rise in national home prices through July 2016.
According to the report, "the CoreLogic HPI Forecasts indicates that home prices [in the U.S.], including distressed sales, are projected to ... increase by 4.7% from July 2015 to July 2016." For more on their real estate market predictions for 2016, visit www.CoreLogic.com.
The general consensus among housing analysts is that home prices in the U.S. will continue rising in 2016, at least in most U.S. cities. But the gains might not be as steep as what we have seen this year.
 
2. The biggest home-price gains will continue to be in the West.
 
In 2015, some of the biggest home-price gains occurred in the western half of the nation. Cities like Denver, Colorado and many in California experienced double-digit gains in property values. Denver and San Francisco, for example, both posted year-over-year gains above 10%.
These markets could experience some cooling in 2016, as mentioned above. But many housing analysts expect that the biggest home-price gains will continue to occur in these western markets.
In September 2015, the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Index revealed continued appreciation across the country. But the biggest gains were reported in the west. According to David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee:
"[The index] has risen at a 4% or higher annual rate since September 2012, well ahead of inflation. Most of the strength is focused on states west of the Mississippi. The three cities with the largest cumulative price increases since January 2000 are all in California: Los Angeles (138%), San Francisco (116%) and San Diego (115%)."
3. Mortgage rates will rise in 2016.
 
This week (ending October 2), the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage sank to 3.85%. The 30-year average has been hovering at or below 4% for most of this year. But what's the forecast for 2016? According to some analysts, borrowing costs could begin to rise later this year and into 2016.
At the end of September 2015, Freddie Mac (the government-regulated buyer of mortgage loans) issued a housing market prediction for 2016. In it, the company's chief economist forecast that the average rate for a 30-year fixed home loan would gradually rise to 4.2% by the end of this year, and 5.1% by the end of 2016.
This is slightly lower than their previous housing forecast, as they noted in their report:
"Based on the Fed's decision last week to defer an increase in the Federal funds rate, we lowered our 2015 and 2016 interest rate forecasts by 0.1 percent for both the 10-year constant maturity Treasury (CMT) and the 30-year fixed rate mortgage (FRM)."
If rates do start to rise gradually this year, we could see a slight reduction in home-buying activity next year. But this could be offset by continued improvements in the job market and broader economy. And that brings us to real estate market prediction #4...
 
4. Job gains will bring more home buyers into the market.
In 2014, the U.S. gained about three million jobs. This year, we are on track to add another two million, according to Doug Duncan, chief economist at Freddie Mac. During September alone, the country gained another 200,000 jobs, according to the payroll company ADP.
This means there are more people in a position to buy a home. So we could start 2016 with a lot of housing demand.
On top of that, many cities across the country are still suffering from a shortage of homes for sale (relative to demand). This supply-and-demand imbalance could continue to push home prices north in 2016, as buyers compete for limited inventory.
 
5. Student loan debt will keep many Millennials out of the market.
According to a recent analysis by the Federal Reserve, outstanding student loan debt now totals more than $1 trillion. That's a one followed by 12 zeros. That's a lot of debt. And it's keeping many would-be home buyers from entering the market. We expect this trend to continue into 2016.
Student loan debt can create additional hurdles for mortgage shoppers, and in a couple of ways. For one thing, it increases the borrower's total debt-to-income ratio, which can cause problems during the underwriting and approval process. Additionally, excessive debt can lower a person's credit score, especially when he or she has missed a few payments in the past. All of this makes it harder for debt-burdened Millennials to qualify for home loans.
 
Matthew T. Smoot-Your "Whatever it Takes" REALTOR®
When You List with Smoot, You Sell with Smoot
With over 10 years in the business I offer my clients the most comprehensive representation in Maryland.  Not only am I a REALTOR, but I also hold a Broker's license, which is the highest and most specialized license a REALTOR can hold.  Customer Service is my Priority, Selling Houses is My Goal!  Contact me for any and all of your Real Estate Needs.  443-504-8930
 
 


Waterfront Estate for Sale in Queenstown MD

Posted by David Kaufmann on January 19, 2016 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Waterfront Estate for Sale in Queenstown MD

1132 Cheston Lane in Queenstown, Maryland 21658, is finally a manageable estate.


This Waterfront Estate on the Prestigious Wye River in Queenstown, MD, comes with deep water access. The brick Colonial Residence with southern exposures was built in 1987 and features 6 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, for a total of 7,588 square feet!

This exceptional 16 acre pastoral parcel contains a guest house, carriage house, green house, a lap pool, two docks with boat lifts and has a professionally rip-rapped shore line. There is also a detached 4 car garage, for your toys.

The easy commute from and to Annapolis (20 mins), Washington, and Baltimore (50 mins) 7500sft, and 16 acres make this waterfront property truly a manageable estate.


David Kaufmann – Realtor ® / GRI - Market got you lost? Take the next EXiT!

Specializing in commercial, high-end waterfront, as well as more modest, residential dwellings in Annapolis, Stevensville, Queenstown and the surrounding areas.

www.DavidKaufmannEXITRealty.com - 443-223-3026 cell, 410-304-2115 office, 410-304-2031 fax;

email DavidKaufmannEXITRealty@gmail.com


The Most Appealing Aspects of Homeownership

Posted by David Kaufmann on January 18, 2016 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (0)

The Most Appealing Aspects of Homeownership

A post from my site at SimplifyingTheMarket.com published this past week . What is most appealing about homeownership to you?

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) just released their first issue of the Housing Opportunities & Market Experience Survey (HOME). In the report, NAR revealed what Americans believe to be the most appealing aspects of homeownership.

Here is a graph showing the results:

The Most Appealing Aspects of Homeownership | Simplifying The Market

It is interesting to see that the two most appealing aspects had nothing to do with money, but instead, addressed the non-financial benefits of homeownership.

David Kaufmann – Realtor ® / GRI - Market got you lost? Take the next EXiT!

Specializing in commercial, high-end waterfront, as well as more modest, residential dwellings in Annapolis, Stevensville, Queenstown and the surrounding areas.

www.DavidKaufmannEXITRealty.com - 443-223-3026 cell, 410-304-2115 office,

410-304-2031 fax; DavidKaufmannEXITRealty@gmail.com email


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